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Sudan’s Military Council Says It Thwarted a Coup

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Sudan’s authorities reported late on Thursday that a state coup attempt was thwarted in the country, Sky News Arabia said citing a statement by the defense and security committee of the Transitional Military Council.

According to the statement, 12 miltiary officers were involved in the attempted coup, they were detained.

“The security service started interrogating them, they will be transferred to the court promptly,” the committee’s head, Lt. Gen. Jamal Omar, said.

He added that power transition can be achieved only through a popular vote, not by military means.

A month ago, the Transitional Miltary Council said it prevented two attempts to stage a state coup.

On April 11, the Sudanese army removed then-President Omar al-Bashir, who had been leading the country for thirty years, from office amid the protests that had mired the country for months and difficult economic situation in Sudan.

The army took power by establishing a Transitional Military Council, dissolving the Parliament and suspending the Constitution. The opposition forces called to create a civil government as soon as possible and launched a strike to oppose the military council. The sides had been trying to come to a mutually acceptable decision for two months, but failed to reach an agreement.

On June 3, the Sudanese police and police tactical units dispersed the protesters in the square facing the main headquarters of the Armed Forces in Khartoum. As a result, ten people died and the tensions exacerbated. Following these events, the opposition refused to continue the talks with the army and announced that all contacts with the military were suspended.

On July 5, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council and opposition forces agreed to create a transitional body consisting of military and civilian members. The new council will operate for at least three years until a general election is held. The parties also agreed to form an independent government and launch an investigation into the acts of violence that took place in the past weeks.

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Court in Gibraltar Extends Iranian Tanker’s Detention for 30 Days

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A court in Gibraltar has extended the detention of an Iranian oil tanker for 30 days, AFP reported, citing Gibraltar’s attorney general. According to the agency, the order authorising the detention of the tanker can be extended for up to 90 days.

“We look forward to continuing to work constructively and positively with officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to facilitate the release of the Grace 1 pursuant to the satisfaction of all legal requirements,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the territory’s parliament, as quoted by AFP.

On 4 July, the supertanker Grace 1 was detained off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicions of it carrying oil to Syria for refinement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the issue earlier this week, with Mr Zarif urging London to release the tanker. He also stressed that Tehran would continue its oil exports under any circumstances. Mr Hunt, for his part, said that the Grace 1 would be released once Iran gives guarantees about its destination.

The tanker’s four crew members were freed on bail earlier this month after being questioned.

The situation in the Gulf has remained tense since the US tightened the sanctions it reimposed on the Iranian oil sector after quitting the 2015 nuclear deal.

A series of incidents, including attacks on oil tankers, took place in the Gulf of Oman in May and June. Washington has blamed the attacks on Tehran, but the latter has denied all the accusations.

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Russia in Confidential Consultations with the Netherlands on MH17 Crash

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Russia is having confidential consultations with the Netherlands on MH17 flight that was downed over Donbass in July 2014, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Friday.

“Such consultations are underway, but we agreed that the process will have a confidential character,” the diplomat said.

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Links Between Russia and EU’s Right-Wing Parties Cause for Concern, Says Merkel

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Relations between Moscow and EU’s right-wing political parties are a cause for concern, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday during a press conference in Berlin.

“Some questions arise here,” she stated. “We have constantly monitored the very strong support that right-leaning parties have received from Russia in one way or the other.” “This is a cause for concern,” Merkel stressed.

The German chancellor also mentioned the scandal regarding the alleged financing of Italy’s Lega party by Russia, noting that the Italian side must investigate the allegations in detail.

Milan’s prosecution launched a case based on the publications on the US BuzzFeed website and in the Italian L’Espresso weekly news magazine shedding light on the alleged financing Lega was receiving from Russia, qualifying the case as international corruption.

The main suspect in the case is one of the associates of Italy’s Deputy PM Matteo Salvini, head of th-e Lombardy-Russia Association Gianluca Savoini. According to the prosecution, his voice can be heard on the BuzzFeed published audio recording of an alleged conversation with Russian entrepreneurs with ties to the Kremlin, during which a possible oil supply contract was discussed. The party could have received the deal dividends amounting to $65 mln.

Both Salvini and Savoini have denied the allegations.

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